Gambian Ministry of Justice Receives Thomson Reuters Law Library

In March of 2021 the Gambian Ministry of Justice sent photos and information about the Thomson Reuters reference law library we had sent them. We at Books For Africa were excited to receive this information as it completes a story started 15 months before.

On December 10, 2019, Books For Africa and Thomson Reuters held a reception to celebrate their partnership in having sent 100 law libraries to African legal recipients.

At that reception, a news story from that morning was shared: The Gambia, which until two years before had been led for 25 years by a despotic military leader, had just filed suit in the International Criminal Court against Myanmar for human rights abuses against their Rohingya people.

Books For Africa has had a focused effort, the Million Books For The Gambia program, which has to date sent over 3/4 of a million school and reading books to the country. We took some pride in the small part BFA has played in The Gambia's new democracy, and specifically in our efforts to strengthen their legal system and support the rule of law in The Gambia. These book shipments have included five Thomson Reuters reference law libraries - the most per population of any African country. Our Jack Mason Law & Democracy advisory board co-chair, Vice President Walter Mondale, and Thomson Reuters Vice President Sharon Sayles-Belton wrote an opinion article about our efforts.

While the Gambian Ministry of Justice (their Attorney General's Office), as part of their new democracy's respect for the rule of law, had filed the ICC lawsuit, they had few law books in their offices. Their Solicitor General wrote to us requesting a law library and saying they had an "urgent need" for new law books.

Earlier this year, included in another container of school books, we sent the Ministry of Justice a reference law library. This law library was sponsored by the Robins Kaplan law firm headquartered in Minneapolis, a regular supporter of Books For Africa's Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative. The Attorney General wrote a letter extending his "profound appreciation and gratitude," adding that the books were "relevant reference material for the various areas of our work."